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Canon G9 X vs SX540

The Canon PowerShot G9 X and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2015 and January 2016. Both the G9X and the SX540 are fixed lens compact cameras that are based on an one-inch (G9X) and a 1/2.3-inch (SX540) sensor. The G9X has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the SX540 provides 20.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon G9 X   versus Canon SX540
Canon G9 X Canon SX540
Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
28-84mm f/2.0-4.9 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
20 MP, 1" Sensor 20.2 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor
1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 125-12800 ISO 80-3200
No viewfinder, LCD framing No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0" LCD, 1040k dots 3.0" LCD, 461k dots
Fixed touchscreen Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
6 shutter flaps per second 5.9 shutter flaps per second
220 shots per battery charge205 shots per battery charge
98 x 58 x 31 mm, 209 g 120 x 82 x 92 mm, 442 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon PowerShot G9 X and the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon G9 X and the Canon SX540. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The G9X can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the SX540 is only available in black.

Size Canon G9 X vs Canon SX540
Compare G9X versus SX540 top
Comparison G9X or SX540 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon SX540 is considerably larger (73 percent) than the Canon G9 X. Moreover, the SX540 is substantially heavier (111 percent) than the G9X. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the G9X nor the SX540 are weather-sealed.

Concerning battery life, the G9X gets 220 shots out of its NB-13L battery, while the SX540 can take 205 images on a single charge of its NB-6LH power pack. The power pack in the G9X can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon G9 X» 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
 
Canon SX540« 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 205 n Jan 2016 399 i i Canon SX540
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon SX730« » 110 mm 64 mm 40 mm 300 g 250 n Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
 
Canon 1300D« » 129 mm 101 mm 78 mm 485 g 500 n Mar 2016 449- i Canon 1300D
 
Canon SX620« » 97 mm 57 mm 28 mm 182 g 295 n May 2016 279 i i Canon SX620
 
Canon SX720« » 110 mm 64 mm 36 mm 270 g 250 n Feb 2016 379- i Canon SX720
 
Canon G3 X« » 123 mm 77 mm 105 mm 733 g 300 Y Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
 
Canon G5 X« » 112 mm 76 mm 44 mm 353 g 210 n Oct 2015 799- i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« » 108 mm 67 mm 35 mm 301 g 255 n Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon SX530« » 120 mm 82 mm 92 mm 442 g 210 n Jan 2015 429- i Canon SX530
 
Canon SX610« » 105 mm 61 mm 27 mm 191 g 270 n Jan 2015 249- i Canon SX610
 
Canon SX710« » 113 mm 66 mm 35 mm 269 g 230 n Jan 2015 349- i Canon SX710
 
Canon 1200D« » 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
 
Canon G7 X« » 103 mm 60 mm 40 mm 304 g 210 n Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Canon S120« » 100 mm 59 mm 29 mm 217 g 230 n Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Nikon 1 J4« » 100 mm 60 mm 29 mm 232 g 300 n Apr 2014 549- i Nikon 1 J4
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The SX540 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the G9X, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon G9 X features an one-inch sensor and the Canon SX540 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the SX540 is 76 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.7 and 5.6. The sensor in the G9X has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the SX540 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Canon G9 X and Canon SX540 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the SX540 offers a slightly higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 20 MP of the G9X. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.18μm versus 2.41μm for the G9X). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the SX540 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Canon PowerShot G9 X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS are ISO 80 to ISO 3200 (no boost).

G9X versus SX540 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon G9 X» 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563Canon G9 X
 
Canon SX540« 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX540
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon SX730« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX730
 
Canon 1300D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p----Canon 1300D
 
Canon SX620« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p----Canon SX620
 
Canon SX720« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX720
 
Canon G3 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.412.352163Canon G3 X
 
Canon G5 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p----Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.211.475365Canon M10
 
Canon SX530« » 1/2.3 15.9 4608 34561080/30p----Canon SX530
 
Canon SX610« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/30p----Canon SX610
 
Canon SX710« » 1/2.3 20.2 5184 38881080/60p----Canon SX710
 
Canon 1200D« » APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463Canon 1200D
 
Canon G7 X« » 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p23.012.755671Canon G7 X
 
Canon S120« » 1/1.7 12.0 4000 30001080/60p21.311.924656Canon S120
 
Nikon 1 J4« » 1-inch 18.2 5232 34881080/60p20.810.742653Nikon 1 J4

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/60p).

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The G9X and the SX540 are similar in the sense that neither of the two has a viewfinder. The images are, thus, framed using live view on the rear LCD. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon G9 X, the Canon SX540, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon G9 X»- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y Canon G9 X
 
Canon SX540«- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX540
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« »- n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon SX730« »- n 3.0 922 tilting n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX730
 
Canon 1300D« »optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 1300D
 
Canon SX620« »- n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y Canon SX620
 
Canon SX720« »- n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 5.9 Y Y Canon SX720
 
Canon G3 X« »- n 3.2 1620 tilting Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon G3 X
 
Canon G5 X« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/2000s 5.9 Y Y Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 4.6 Y n Canon M10
 
Canon SX530« »- n 3.0 461 fixed n 1/2000s 1.6 Y Y Canon SX530
 
Canon SX610« »- n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/2000s 2.5 Y Y Canon SX610
 
Canon SX710« »- n 3.0 922 fixed n 1/3200s 6.0 Y Y Canon SX710
 
Canon 1200D« »optical n 3.0 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 1200D
 
Canon G7 X« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 1/2000s 6.5 Y Y Canon G7 X
 
Canon S120« »- n 3.0 922 fixed Y 1/2000s 12.1 Y Y Canon S120
 
Nikon 1 J4« »- n 3.0 1037 Fixed Y 1/4000s 60.0 Y n Nikon 1 J4

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The G9X has a touchscreen, while the SX540 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The Canon G9 X has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Both the G9X and the SX540 have zoom lenses built in. The G9X has a 28-84mm f/2.0-4.9 optic and the SX540 offers a 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the SX540 provides a wider angle of view at the short end, as well as more tele-photo reach at the long end than the G9X. The G9X offers the faster maximum aperture.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the G9X and the SX540 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon PowerShot G9 X and Canon PowerShot SX540 HS and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon G9 X»-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G9 X
 
Canon SX540«-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon SX540
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon SX730« »-stereomono--micro2.0YYYCanon SX730
 
Canon 1300D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon 1300D
 
Canon SX620« »-monomono--micro2.0YY-Canon SX620
 
Canon SX720« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon SX720
 
Canon G3 X« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon G3 X
 
Canon G5 X« »Ystereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon M10
 
Canon SX530« »-stereomono--mini2.0YY-Canon SX530
 
Canon SX610« »-----micro2.0YY-Canon SX610
 
Canon SX710« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon SX710
 
Canon 1200D« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Canon 1200D
 
Canon G7 X« »-stereomono--micro2.0YY-Canon G7 X
 
Canon S120« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Canon S120
 
Nikon 1 J4« »-stereomono--mini2.0Y--Nikon 1 J4

The SX540 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Canon. In contrast, the G9X has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G9X was succeeded by the Canon G9 X Mark II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon website.


Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Canon G9 X better than the Canon SX540 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Arguments in favor of the Canon PowerShot G9 X:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 461k dots).
  • Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/2.0 vs f/3.4).
  • More compact: Is smaller (98x58mm vs 120x82mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 233g or 53 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.


Reasons to prefer the Canon PowerShot SX540 HS:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Wider view: Has a wider-angle lens that facilitates landscape or interior shots.
  • More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the G9X is the clear winner of the match-up (11 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

G9X 11:04 SX540

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon G9 X and the Canon SX540 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the G9X and the SX540 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon G9 X»+ +-4.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529- i Canon G9 X
 
Canon SX540«----- Jan 2016 399 i i Canon SX540
 
Canon G9 X Mark II« »-75/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i i Canon G9 X Mark II
 
Canon SX730« »+-4/5-4/5 Apr 2017 399- i Canon SX730
 
Canon 1300D« »o73/1004/53.5/54/5 Mar 2016 449- i Canon 1300D
 
Canon SX620« »----4/5 May 2016 279 i i Canon SX620
 
Canon SX720« »+-4/5-4.5/5 Feb 2016 379- i Canon SX720
 
Canon G3 X« »+-4.5/53.5/54/5 Jun 2015 999 i i Canon G3 X
 
Canon G5 X« »+ +78/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Oct 2015 799- i Canon G5 X
 
Canon M10« »---o4/5 Oct 2015 499- i Canon M10
 
Canon SX530« »+ +-4/5-4/5 Jan 2015 429- i Canon SX530
 
Canon SX610« »--4/5-4/5 Jan 2015 249- i Canon SX610
 
Canon SX710« »+-4/5-3.5/5 Jan 2015 349- i Canon SX710
 
Canon 1200D« »+-4/54/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449- i Canon 1200D
 
Canon G7 X« »+ +77/1004.5/53.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 699- i Canon G7 X
 
Canon S120« »+ +-4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2013 449- i Canon S120
 
Nikon 1 J4« »--4.5/5-4/5 Apr 2014 549- i Nikon 1 J4
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Canon G9 X:
Check Ebay offers
Canon SX540:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Canon G9 X vs Canon SX540

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon G9 X Canon SX540
    Camera Type Fixed lens compact camera Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens 28-84mm f/2.0-4.9 24-1200mm f/3.4-6.5
    Launch Date October 2015 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 529 USD 399
    Sensor Specs Canon G9 X Canon SX540
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format 1" Sensor 1/2.3" Sensor
    Sensor Size 13.2 x 8.8 mm 6.17 x 4.55 mm
    Sensor Area 116.16 mm2 28.0735 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 15.9 mm 7.7 mm
    Crop Factor 2.7x 5.6x
    Sensor Resolution 20 Megapixels 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5472 x 3648 pixels 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 2.41 μm 1.18 μm
    Pixel Density 17.18 MP/cm2 71.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 125-12800 ISO 80-3200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 6 DIGIC 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.5 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.3 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 495 ..
    Screen Specs Canon G9 X Canon SX540
    Viewfinder Type No viewfinder No viewfinder
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1040k dots 461k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen no Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Canon G9 X Canon SX540
    Autofocus System Contrast-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus PeakingNo Peaking Feature
    Continuous Shooting 6 shutter flaps/s 5.9 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Canon G9 X Canon SX540
    External Flash no Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication NFC built-in NFC built-in
    Body Specs Canon G9 X Canon SX540
    Battery Type NB-13L NB-6LH
    Battery Life (CIPA)220 shots per charge205 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging no USB charging
    Body Dimensions 98 x 58 x 31 mm
    (3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2 in)
    120 x 82 x 92 mm
    (4.7 x 3.2 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 209 g (7.4 oz) 442 g (15.6 oz)

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